The purpose of an informative essay, sometimes called an expository essay, is to educate on a certain topic. It is not for giving an opinion or convincing someone to do something or change his beliefs. In addition to being informative, it needs to be interesting.
Structure of an Informative Essay
The basic structure of an informative essay is very simple. It needs to have a beginning, middle, and end.
- The beginning needs to present the topic and grab the attention of the audience. It needs to include the focus sentence for the entire essay.
- The middle will be the main bulk of the essay and it will contain all the important facts that you are covering. This is where the audience will get their questions answered. Remember to answer these questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
- The end is a conclusion where you will summarize the essay. It should spur the reader or listener to learn more about the topic.
Here is an example of the beginning of an informative essay:
As you are listening to me, you might not think that today is the day that you will save a life. It is quite easy to save a life any day and it only takes a little bit of your time. I’m not talking about being a paramedic or fireman; I am talking about donating blood.
Here is an example of a closing:
So that now you know how easy it is to donate blood, it’s time to take action. After all, you have plenty of blood, so why not share? When you do, you will feel good about yourself and you will save a life.
Subjects of Informative Essays
Informative essays, sometimes called expository essays, can be used for many purposes. They can compare viewpoints on a controversial subject as long as they don’t include the author’s opinions. They may analyze data, like in a cause and effect situation, or educate the audience on ways to do something, like solving a certain kind of problem.
- An informative essay might explain the pros and cons of the death penalty, using statistics on crime rate reduction as a pro and statistics on innocent men being found guilty as a con.
- An informative essay might analyze whether lack of education is a cause of homelessness by using statistics and information about the educational attainment of homeless men and women.
- An informative essay might educate the audience on how to open a bank account.
Informative Essay Titles
To help you get a better idea of the different types of informative essays, here are some possible titles for this type of essay:
- Understanding the Link Between Cholesterol and Heart Disease
- How to Buy a House
- Understanding Your Credit Score
- Defining Poverty in the City of Chicago
- The Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
- The Importance of Regular Daily Exercise
- The Causes of Global Warming
- Reducing Carbon Emissions with Alternative Fuels
- Cost Savings of Hybrid Vehicles
- Understanding Geothermal Heating and Cooling
- Why Cleaning Your Ducts is Important
- Qualifications of Contractors
- How to Get your Commercial Driver's License
Steps in Creating an Informative Essay
Most of the work on an informative essay is done before you actually sit down to type. Here are the general steps to take:
- After you have chosen the topic, you will need to research and gather all the pertinent details on that subject. You need to ascertain what you already know about the subject and then decide what you would like to know.
- You will need to make a list of the important facts and then list the main steps in your paper. Make sure all your facts are accurate. You will need to write a topic sentence for each fact and write a focus sentence (thesis statement) for the entire essay.
- Create an outline that will organize your facts in a logical way. Then you will be ready to make your first draft.
- Editing is an important step for any writing project. Reading your essay out loud will help you notice places where the writing is awkward or unclear. If possible, have someone else read it and give you their ideas for improvement. Of course, you will need to pay attention for grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and other errors.
An informative essay is the best way to explain something that is complicated...in an uncomplicated way.
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Examples of Informative Essays
By YourDictionaryThe purpose of an informative essay, sometimes called an expository essay, is to educate on a certain topic. It is not for giving an opinion or convincing someone to do something or change his beliefs. In addition to being informative, it needs to be interesting.
Wait a day or so and re-read your essay. Get your essay done a couple of days before the due date so that you have time to go back and revise it to make it polished. Avoid turning in a first draft that you haven't double-checked for errors.
Correct errors related to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Consult a style book if you are unsure how to properly use quotation marks, colons, semicolons, apostrophes or commas. Avoid using exclamation points.
- Look for mistakes involving than/then, your/you're, its/it's, etc. Make sure you know how to use apostrophes correctly.
- Look for mistakes involving general punctuation. Check for run-on sentences, commas and periods inside quotation marks, as well as sparely-used dashes, colons, and semi-colons.
- At the same time, try to keep your language short, sweet, and to the point. A thesaurus is a great tool, but don't just use big words to sound fancy. The best essays are clear, concise, and easily understood by a wide audience.
- Focus on writing killer verbs for sentences. Verbs communicate the action in a sentence and drive the action. A great verb can be the difference between a bland sentence and a beautiful one.
- Use adjectives lightly. Adjectives are great descriptive words, but when used indiscriminately, they can burden an essay and make it less readable. Try to let the verbs and nouns do most of the heavy lifting before you focus on adjectives.
Avoid colloquial (informal) writing. Do not use contractions or abbreviations (e.g., don't, can't, won't, shouldn't, could've, or haven't). Your essay should have a serious tone, even if it's written in a light or lyrical style.
- When events happen in sequence: I first started to realize that I was in the minority when I was in middle school...My realization was confirmed when I proceeded to high school.
- If sentences elaborate on each other: Plants need water to survive...A plant's ability to absorb water depends on the nutrition of the soil.
- When an idea contrasts with another idea: Vegetarians argue that land is unnecessarily wasted by feeding animals to be eaten as food...Opponents argue that land being used for grazing would not be able to be used to create any other kind of food.
- If you're relaying a cause and effect relationship: I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college...I am inspired to continue my family's progress through the generations.
- When connecting similar ideas: Organic food is thought to be better for the environment . . . local food is believed to achieve the same goals.
Cut information that's not specifically related to your topic. You don't want your essay to ramble off-topic. Any information that doesn't directly or indirectly support your thesis should be cut out.
Have someone read your paper aloud to you, or record yourself reading it aloud and play it back. Your ears are sometimes better than your eyes at picking up mistakes in language. The essay should sound like it has a good flow and understandable words.
Rewrite any problematic body passages. If needed, rearrange sentences and paragraphs into a different order. Make sure that both your conclusion and introduction match the changes that you make to the body.